Parenting is one of the hardest and most fulfilling responsibility I have ever had.  It is completely draining, exhausting and at the same time addictive and exhilarating.  Here you will find some of the things I have learned parenting.  I honestly don't think there is only one way to be a good parent so don't take any of it as gospel.  

Dealing With Lack of Sleep

I feel like I'm awakening from a deep sleep. There's still a haze in my mind but my awareness grows by the day. I'm recovering from a debilitating combination of broken sleep and general sleep deprivation. You wouldn't wish this on anyone else.

You see, my youngest is almost two and she's only just now sleeping through most of the night. And she has two slightly older siblings who also kept me up at night when they were younger. I still get a wakeup or two but my youngest resettles quickly now - most of the time.  So, now I'm getting more uninterrupted sleep and I'm feeling much better for it.

I had no idea what life would be like as a parent. Friends and relatives warned me about this and that but I didn't realise the harsh reality of life with babies and toddlers. Everything suffers when your sleep does. Motivation dies, hobbies are neglected, diets get abused and anything outside of core day by day living gets ignored or sacrificed on the altar of early parenthood. I wouldn't have had time to write this this article six months ago let alone had the wherewithal to contemplate it. I'm told sleep deprivation or relentless broken sleep, has the equivalent effect of being drunk and sometimes even depression.  My wife can attest to the latter.  As a result everything suffers.

Read more: Dealing With Lack of Sleep

Remind Yourself of the Joy

Being a parent is a joy and a priviledge. This bears repeating because it can be easily forgotten. If you aren't careful your kids will grow up in the blink of an eye. And you'll miss it.

Everynight before bed while my wife reads our older two stories I get to put our youngest to sleep in her room. It's a pleasure most nights. I get the opportunity to read stories, cuddle, and sing lullabyes until she is ready to lie down. It gives me pleasure just thinking about it. I wish I could bottle it and consume the contents when I'm much, much older.

And yet despite, or in spite of, the joy of parenting we can often surround ourselves with distractions. Work, media consumption, and our personal interests can often lure us away from 'living' with our young ones.

I'm as guilty as anyone. Some days I just want to watch a movie. You know, without pausing it so many times I lose track of the plot. Or I want to vege out on the internet, have a shower, whatever. I get frustrated by a minute's delay, a 'chase and gather' before the nightly bath, a spilled cup at dinner.

Read more: Remind Yourself of the Joy

10 Ways Fathers Can Help Mum Breastfeed

When everything is working well breastfeeding can be an intimate bonding time between mother and child.  When things aren't working so well Mums can feel helpless.  Either way husbands can feel disconnected during their wife's breastfeeding.

But fathers can still participate and even help out to make things easier for Mum and the family.  If Mum is lucky enough to be breastfeeding twins a father's help is even more important.  Here are ten ways fathers can help when Mum is breastfeeding.

1.  Help set up.

This can be as easy as clearing a seat or the couch or can mean finding pillows or cushions to help prop up a breastfeeding pillow or a sore back.

2.  Get Mum a drink and something to eat.

It is essential that breast feeding mums keep themselves hydrated.  Water is best from what I have read.  Mum also needs enough food for herself and her baby.  Not enough food and water means breast milk supply could be affected.

Read more: 10 Ways Fathers Can Help Mum Breastfeed

5 Reasons Being A New Parent is Awesome

My last article ‘5 reasons being a new parent sucks’ was easy to write.  Focusing on the negative always is easy.  But being a new parent also brings with it so many positives and they far outweigh the negatives.  The problem is that sometimes you need to get past the lack of sleep to appreciate just how fantastic being a new parent really is.  So, here are 5 reasons why being a new parent is fantastic.

1.  Perspective

Becoming a parent forces you to re-evaluate your life.  It slaps you silly and wakes you from the self indulgent, navel gazing life you led before your child’s birth.  Having a child drags you kicking and screaming into a world where you realise you are not the most important person.  I speak only for myself of course but, without a doubt, parenthood provides perspective.  It demands a rearrangement of priorities, a remoulding of what your life is all about.  And I believe this is for the better.

2.  Snuggles

Babies love to snuggle.  Beside sleep I sometimes think it is what they do best.  After a feed, while they sleep, as they wake; babies are almost always keen for a snuggle.  And, let’s face it, most adults are too.  We humans love a good cuddle and your baby nuzzling into the crook of your neck is one of the best experiences there is.

Read more: 5 Reasons Being A New Parent is Awesome

5 Reasons Being A New Parent Sucks

I am now into my ninth week as a first time parent.  The experience has been a shock, a rude awakening, and no amount of advice before hand really prepared me for the experience.  Having twins has exacerbated things somewhat.  The positives far outweigh the negatives but it has been far from smooth sailing.

So, I have constructed a list of the 5 things I think are the worst facets of being a new parent.  The list is a vent and a very personal list.  The items that populate it may not be the same as what other first time parents would nominate.  However, I hope expectant parents find this article useful in some small way.

1.  Lack of sleep - The 1.5- 2 hour sleep sessions

Newborns have tiny stomachs and so they can’t hold much food.  This means they have to be fed every three hours.  Day and Night.  Feeding your newborn baby like this is an endless cycle that lasts for months.  The lack of sleep you have to endure can ,and does, break many people.  In fact, the symptoms of sleep deprivation are almost identical to that of depression.  Get sleep when you can and make use of whatever support base of friends and family you have to catch up on some shuteye. 

Read more: 5 Reasons Being A New Parent Sucks